Monday, November 29, 2010

Sister's with Blisters walk 27 November 2010

Saturday finally dawned, as days often do. But this was a Saturday that had been eagerly anticipated since well near the beginning of the month! (You know the sort, where it seems to take 3 months to get here!) It was time for - The sisters with blisters charity walk 2010! Hooray!! (Anything that requires walking, meeting friends and bright pink free goody bags will always get my two thumbs up!)

I was dead impatient to go, up! It seemed like Rob, my housemate, was taking for ages! When he finally said he was ready I burst out that door so fast it took the speed of light hours to catch up!

Finding the walk spot was pretty easy. We just followed the tons and tons of people dressed in garish pink and holding bright pink helium balloons. < - - some envy was felt at this point as I never did get one…

We managed, more purely by chance then anything else, to locate my sister and her husband. We stayed together as a close knit school of fishies because the whole place was one big sardine can tightly compressed with eager walkers of every kind imaginable! You could just relax your eyes and feast on the odd, weird, clever, painfully bright and oh my word, costumes that people had on! (I think I was the only one with long sleeves on though, score 1 for me!) [I forget was this a charity walk or gay pride parade? sometimes it was hard to tell. Doesn't he have a nice.... feather?]

We then joined up with more friends (many who’d done the earlier 8km walk – more envy) and prepped to go do our weenie but invigorating 4km walk.

[If you look far off into the distance you can see the white balloon of the starting line, there were that many people that this was the closest we could get!]

It was lovely having a walk about the Bryanston campus on the arm of a nun in fishnets and facial hair. (Isn’t that a dream we all share?)
[And so it was that Jovvi found religion]

[Spot the Jo]

[Some costumes were just 'huh' inducing. This fellow, covered in black shoe polish, walked around behind his lady friend carrying an umbrella over her head. The reason? who knows?]

There were even places for people to cool their dogs down along the way, and bottles of water especially for the canine friends. (Which of course make you wonder how it’s different from human water? Next time I’ll get one and you can taste it and tell me!)
[It was hot enough that pushing the pooch out the way and clambering into the bath didn't seem like such a bad idea!]

At the end of the walk we even got a little medal to feel like the brave champions we were! (The ribbon of course being a nice neon pink to go with the general décor. I don’t think my eyes can handle any more electric pink for a few months to come.
[But we're all winners in the end, teehee *waves like Miss South Africa*]

We had to huddle under an umbrella afterwards in a desperate need for shade, it was buggerdamn HOT! There was a prize giving, but none of us won anything which goes to show it was rigged!

Later I got to have my first swim in over a year. Followed by the blessing of my first sunburn in over a year. My shoulders are the kind of red you usually only see in over the top slasher movies! *Delicately touches shoulder and tries not to howl in pure, animalistic agony.*

And just to add the finishing touches to a dang nifty day, we had Rob’s second best friend (Well okay maybe best friend but I will fight for that title dammit!) come over and talk explosions and anime! *BLISS*

Does life get any better then that? (That’s a rhetorical question; obviously we could have added monkeys.)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Slightly bugged?

I love bugs. I find them utterly fascinating. Even the ones that freak me out and left me rocking in a corner whimpering, “Why would it do that? Why? Why?!”

I’ve been fascinated by the critters since I was a wee whipper-snapper, collecting them in jars and keeping them all about my room, much to the distress of the maid and the horror of my dad. (My brothers were in turn fascinated or revolted as the mood hit them.)

Below is a list of my top 5 favorite bugs, in random order (No favoritism here folks!). I’m leaving spiders out because they’ve already had their own blog and need to learn to let others have their time to shine!

1. Praying Mantis’s - They have a grace and beauty that just hides their gruesome nature. Most noticeably their tendency to catch prey, hold it firmly and begin chomping on them while they’re still alive. If the bug is lucky it starts with their head. (Mind if he's really lucky then the praying mantis is munching his pal while he makes a quick get away!)

2. Lady bugs – They’re so cute! In Afrikaans they’re known as Boom-skilpadjie – Tree turtles. I used to spend my time in the pool, moving slowly around the edges, saving half drowned ladybirds. Sometimes there were so many that most of my swim was basically ‘search and rescue’.

3. Grasshoppers – I will admit that the majority of grasshoppers I caught were then feed to the Praying mantises, which is mercenary but hey, a bug's gotta eat! They used to get me back by leaping when least expected and making me shriek like the little girl I was. To me they seem a very judgmental insect.

4. Butterflies – Yes because they are so pretty. If it makes you feel any better I used to feed the odd one to the Mantis as well. Oh now don’t look at me like that!

5. The Grotties – For me this is a subsection that contains all those bugs that do things that just put you right off your feed and which you still end up reading about cause it’s fascinating in a “Please tell me someone made this up kind of way…” But I’m nice, so I won’t tell you about Japanese hornets or Americanized bees that will sting you to death in swarms, or the Bot fly and how it’s maggots eat through your skin, or even the fun of bedbugs sucking blood from your face while you sleep, because I’m nice like that.

Ah but bugs are fun! (When not frightening, annoying or off putting). Live and let live I say! (Unless you’re feeding it to a Praying Mantis), and hey, you can always get revenge on bugs the old fashion way…

Monday, November 15, 2010

It's off to 'who knows where' I go!

So Saturday come around and it was time to move my furniture to my new dwelling! (A bit sooner then expected but I roll with the punches!)

I’d been packing willy-nilly for the past week, this basically entailed:

1. Pick up random item
2. Wonder if it’s mine or someone else’s. If someone else’s, put back and go back to step 1.
3. If mine, did I really, really need it?
4. Ignore step 3 and decide do I want it?
5. Doff it in the box anyway.

I’m never enthusiastic about moving. I’ve done it entirely too much in my life and always with the knowledge that sooner or later, I’ll move yet again. (What can I say, I have nesting instincts dammit! And they get royally buggered around when forced to relocate!)

*sits and feels hard done by for a few satisfying minutes – then gets on with it*

We went to my soon-to-be housemate’s dad’s work, where I got to meet a fantastic 80 year old gentleman who was, of all things, also a Vegan! Yay! He was a lively individual whom I’m told often clambers about the factory roofs and does a lot of physical hard labour. Again he is 80 years old!! Viva Vegans!!

This most kindly individual lent us a nice, ginormous truck to transport my goods in. And Oh my gosh, I had to all but take a flying leap to get into the, what would you call it, Cockpit? Cab? Shuttle Control Centre? of the truck, it was so high! It felt jolly strange!

[Your carriage madam.]

But oh! Oh Oh Oh!! Was it fun!! I had such a ball riding in that truck! I must have taken a zillion and one photos of everything! (Which later turned out to look like just regular shots taken from a car. You had to be there…)

[I took photos of everything! Hey, it was interesting!!]

It’s, well not like flying really, but like... I donno, can’t explain it. You’re in this huge cab, with giant windows that let you see more then a car ever could! And every vehicle that passes you looks like a dinky toy you almost expect to feel apologetic as it passes you by. And when you see other truck drivers you feel yourself puff up with fraternal love as though, “Hey brother! It’s us against them and aren’t we the lucky ones?!”

[Sooooooooooo fun!!]

The moving was pretty quick and efficient. I madly packed the last of my stuff and the two guys who came with heaved and ho’ed and got everything packed so fast I basked in the sonic backlash. We got the bed in, the fridge in, my clothes in, and my niece out! (She was sneaking onboard with a, “Take me with you!!” plea!)

[Aaw, how can I say no to that face? It was surprisingly easy! Hehe :P]

Another ride, this time to the my new place *Beams with the joy of remembering it*, and we started to unpack the truck. Well sort of “we”. As the one guy was putting out a table to be carried, I leapt forward with hopefully optimistic arms to take it. He gave me the once over, reached in for a small packet of paints and said, “Here, you take this”.

(I was a little miffed at that because lately I’ve been building some actual, genuine muscle and feeling rather buff! Later I tried picking the table up to prove the error of his ways and found I couldn’t do more then budge it! I still think he was at fault though, just cause).

Now I’m moved into my room! It’s rather small, so I think of it as sort of a monk’s cell, but with more fat, fluffy stuffed toys then is the current rage at religious institutions. I’m slowly but surely packing things away as the mood hits. Isn’t it funny how you forget you own things till you open a box and, “Oh my gosh Vern! It’s that lamp Aunty Ida gave us!!”

Well I am settling in. and I sort of hope I don’t have to move again too, too soon. But I guess life is an adventure and you can never ever take anything for granted ‘cause you never know what other rabbit it’s going to pull out of the hat at the last moment!

“Vern! Where’d this rabbit come from?”

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Slug it to ya!

It all started on a day much like any other day. A normal day, back when I lived in Durban. A sunny shiny day that seemed so good and pure.
Good and pure until IT happened!!

I’d done my walk and had decided to do the dishes that had been building up in the sink, as dishes are often want to do. I filled the sink up with some pleasingly hot, soapy water and started washing the lot. Cups, plates, bowls, so far so good.

It didn’t take me very long to do them all and I was rather feeling a glow of satisfaction that always comes when you’ve finally done a chore you’re not too keen on.

So I reached into the bubbly, murky water for the plug to pull it out and send the soap off to water fate awaited down the black plumbing.

That’s when I felt it.

Oh god.

I can’t say what made my hand close around it. Maybe a naïve hope that it wasn’t what I was beginning to suspect it was? That last bit of hope that said, please let this be just a really big noodle, even as I knew there had been no noodly dishes served in the last 48 hours.

I brought my hand up slowly.

Please be a noodle! Please be a noodle!

It wasn’t a noodle.

It was fat and grey and looked like a delicious cooked mushroom. Why couldn’t it have been a delicious cooked mushroom?

It was, and even typing this makes me feel queasy….

It was a giant slug.

A giant, half boiled, dripping ooze, grey as a mushroom but not near as appealing, slug!

Now anyone who’s been to Durban knows that the bugs there are all mutants. Here in Joburg we have praying mantises and cockroaches. There they have PRAYING MANTIS’S AND COCKROACHES!! Huge beasts you could all but yoke up to a wagon! So this slug was no puppy. (The size of one yes, but the urge to stroke it didn’t come upon me curiously!).

I just stood there with this thing in my sweet, unprotected, precious hand! (All these descriptive words just suddenly bubbled out of my consciousness as I stood there.)

On the outside I appeared very cool, calm and collected.
On the inside it was more along the lines of, “EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE…..”
I walked to the door with it still slobbering in my hand,
Opened the door, went to the flower bed,
Then hurled the gelatinous body as hard as I could into the pansies!!!
Then turned and gracefully went inside, closed the door and then, from my mouth, “EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK!!!!! AAAAAAAAHHHHH WAAAAAAAAH!!!! NOOOOOOOOO!!!!”
And various other sounds of a creature in mental distress!

I was just so GROSS!!!! And I like bugs, I find them fascinating. Just a slug? Drowned in my dishes!! That was just an uncool little trick to play on me!

And then my eyes roved to the dishes. Oh the dishes!!! I’d just cleaned them! They looked all sparkly and new and wholesome. But what a terrible secret they now possessed! Slug slimed, each and every one of them! I’d have to wash them all, all over again!

I got shakily to my feet (Hadn’t noticed Id slid to the floor) and made my uneasy way back to the dishes. First thing I did was nuke the sink with water hotter then the lavas of hell.
Then, checking it in a manor more thorough then Sherlock Holmes could ever manage, I skittishly put the plug in and proceeded to painfully wash each dish over again.

But I was scarred. That Slug had looked like a cooked mushroom. That same grey colour, gosh that same consistency! I loved cooked mushrooms.
It took me over a year before I could eat another one again without expecting it to wiggle between my teeth!

I still get the heebie-jeebies around slugs to this day. I always feel like they’re plotting something. Why don’t they have shells like nice, slow moving, never-found-in-your-sink, snails? Did they sell them t support a drug habit or something? Sly horrors.

But isn’t it funny how an incident so small and unassuming can haunt you years to come? The human creature is a strange one indeed! (Still I like them better then slugs because I’ve never found one floating in my wash goods!)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Adventure Walking! Sort of...

So today I burst out of bed with sheer joyous wonder! This was not because I had won the lotto, sob sob, or felt the need to glorify in a bowel movement, but because today I was going to do a new walk route! (What? It's fun dammit!)

I love trying out new walks and seeing where they take me, what's to be seen and marveled at, and how badly my feet get bloodied and mangled!

I set off at 7am, with a satchel containing some water, a note book (for toon ideas) and a borrowed rain jacket because the sky looked a bit ominous. (It wont rain if you're carrying a brolly or raincoat, but if you forget one? It goes Monsoon on your ass!)

One thing about a new walk is you have to pay attention. something I always seem short changed in! (I was rather shocked to see a huge pylon on my walk! I'd been past that area a few times and this was the first time I had noticed this giant, not easily missed by anyone else, wire structure!) Pay attention Jo!
[What? It's hardly noticeable!]

I'd figured the walk would take about 4 or 5 hours but discovered that I was rather a speedy devil. A walk that took an hour with other people (and a small sausage dog with an inexhaustible bladder) took less then 30 minutes!

[I think I would have gotten on famously with whomever named this street!]

I got to go past an area that appears to be natures attempt to recapture a little bit of land for herself. My amigo calls it, 'The Swamp', but I rather like it. It has tons of birds and it's own unique watery charm. I must admit if it hadn't looked like a flowing ad for 'Bilharzia R us' I would have liked to slap on some slip slops and go crashing into the water, on the hunt for crabs and other small squiggly things! Large bodies of water always awaken that aquatic acquisitive urge.
[I bet if one of those power-lines was to snap and fall into the water, the ducks would certainly find it shocking!]

I did a little shopping at one of the centers, (to satisfy that acquisitive urge) and started heading back homewards. Which of course was when the heavens opened and the rain came pelting down. I managed to yank my borrowed jacket out the bag (Naturally it was right at the bottom), and get it over my most important bits.

Luckily the rain didn't last long. Just long enough to leave me with very soggy pants, that, when the sun came back out again, left a warm, moist feeling on my legs similar to that a small kid leaves when it makes an 'oopsy' on your lap. But the sun was warm, as it often is, and my bits and bobs dried out fast enough.
[The titanic struggle of darkness vs light! Just let me get to shelter before this gets ugly!]

I was rather sad that it seemed I'd only get a 2.5 hour walk instead of the usual 5 hours. Now don't get me wrong, when I eventually get a job and I'm putting on my nifty suit, or only slightly grease stained MacDonald's uniform, I will give up walking with a small sigh and get on with it. But until that happens I am a Prima Donna and expect long hours with much enjoyable suffering brought on by fatigue and sunstroke!

Then I got lost.

Ironically I figured that back tracking would be the easiest way to remember where I went. I was here, I'm here again, simple right? But everything looks surprisingly different when you are seeing it from a southern rather then northern approach. You start to think, now did I really see this gate before or do I just think I have?

The first time I got lost was due to recognizing a street name but forgetting that I was supposed to go over that street not down it. It was a lovely street though and I got pretty far before my daydreaming self informed the rest of me that we weren't anywhere recognizable and that should this course continue, it would be recommending a large scale dose of panic! I got back to the main road and carried on down it, feeling rather proud of my tracking abilities. Only to get lost again.

This time to be fair, the street had an identical name to the one I was looking for, only slightly shortened. (Its a pretty good excuse hey?), Since I am typing this you can be assured that I didn't get completely lost and die of starvation at the side of the road. It's actually rather fun being lost though in a way, don't you think? (this being easier to say at home and safe then out there and hopeless). But I wasn't worried, if I got too lost I knew I'd keep my head, calmly pull out my phone, dial my chum up and say that, "WAAAAAAAAAH! I'M LOST! I'M LOST! I'M GOING TO END UP DEAD, HEEEEEEEEEEELP MEEEEEEEEE!!!!"

So in the end I made it home alright feeling pleasantly warm and tired. I had a snack, played on the computer some and now? Honestly? I could do it all over again! Want to join me

Monday, November 1, 2010

Once again I was invited to a do where you could dress up! Now any one who knows me knows that already this ensnared my interest like an ant in tar! But my ears really perked up when I discovered it was a Halloween party. HOORAY! One of the few times that no matter how ugly, sleazy, trashy or weird your costume is, chances are you will get approval for it!

Mind you, you then have to decide what you want to go as. I decided then and there I’d not go as a vampire. Those guys have been getting entirely too much press lately! A zombie held my interest for a mo, but I wasn’t sure what to use for fake blood, and getting my hands on real blood could have meant cops showing up half way through the party with a bloody axe and the need to ask me a few questions.

Mind you women are generally expected to dress up as something sexy on Halloween. Guys get to go all gory and freakish as Frankenstein, bloody corpses, zombies, or ANC members but women are all sexy devils, black kitties in skintight cat suits or playboy bunny rabbits.
(Leporiphobia, a specific phobia, is an abnormal, debilitating, and often paralyzing fear of evil mutant bunny rabbits – now you know, go impress your friends.)

I couldn’t decide between going as a Goth girl (I’m getting divorced, Emo comes naturally) or if I should go as a punk and be a matching set to my friend. (Who’s blue Mohawk caused quiet a stir!).

In the end I decided to blend both and damn the consequences.
It actually worked out pretty well!

Now the party was for the wife of a friend’s friend whom I didn’t know. This was very pleasing. I just love meeting new people! I love to fix a picture of what I think they’ll look like in my mind, the people, the place, even the food, and then rock up and have a joyful few minutes comparing the reality to my imagination.

This time round reality was much, much nicer then what I’d imagined! The folk were friendly, the costumes they wore fun and inventive and there was actually food I could eat! (Though sadly there wasn’t any watermelon, a large gaping flaw it took me a while to get over).

I also met two other vegans! Egad hooray, I’m not alone in my weird eating habits! (They’re not as strict as me but then, who is?) A vampire that enjoys a good strawberry, a sassy 16 year old and a great grand mother with a lot of fire and spunk and many other interesting characters!

The highlight of the evening though came when someone foolishly opened up a tube of glow sticks.
Now there are few things as satisfying as hearing that nice crunching sound as you crack up a glow stick and watch the neon colours emerge! And of course you can’t just do one! You have to do a blue one and a red one and a green one and then another blue one cause the first one came out so well and then…

We ended up cutting some open and I had a small gaggle of kids using my tattoos to track over with various glowy chemicals. (Later we read on the box that you’re not actually supposed to cut them open, them being dangerous and all that, but really, how were we supposed to know?)

Sadly because we lived on the other side of forever, we couldn’t stay as long as we’d have liked. Completely daft me forgot to ask for people’s contacts so now I have to go asking, “No man who was that nice person! You know the one in black! They were all in black? No but they were the awesome ones!!”

All in all though it was a lot of fun and if anyone wants a repeat performance, well I guess I will go, just to please you guys of course….
p.s. stock watermelon…